Absolutely Natural sunscreen

Absolutely Natural Sunscreen

Reproduced from news on Consumer website www.consumer.org.nz 30 June 2009.

A member has contacted us with a query about Absolutely Natural SPF 30 Plus sunscreen.

'I bought some for a friend and she burnt after using it (and applying it liberally).' Attempts to contact the manufacturer through the website and the telephone number listed on the tube were unsuccessful so she asked us to investigate.

We bought a 200g tube of Absolutely Natural SPF 30 Plus from a website and our doubts were instantly aroused:

  • The label claims 'Complies with AS/NZS 2804 (1998)'. There is no such Standard – the Australia/New Zealand sunscreen Standard is AS/NZS 2604:1998. Online advertising claims it meets 'AS/NZ 2806'. Again, no such Standard exists.
  • There are no instructions to reapply the sunscreen regularly. AS/NZS 2604 states that the sunscreen should be labelled with 'Clear and adequate directions for the use of the product'. Absolutely Natural's only instruction is 'Keep out of the reach of children' – it clearly doesn't comply.

The distributor, Zoe Aitchison-Windeler of Quintessentials New Zealand, told us that she bought the stock of Absolutely Natural sunscreen from the original distributor in 2007. The Standard claim is now covered by a sticker giving a postal address for Quintessentials New Zealand. But it's still advertised on websites.

Zoe says she can't supply test evidence to support the Absolutely Natural's SPF and water resistance claims as the product was formulated in 2003.

Our view

To be safe you should always look for a sunscreen that offers:

  • SPF 30+ protection against UVB
  • broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB
  • compliance with the sunscreen Standard AS/NZS 2604:1998.

Our 2008 test (http://www.consumer.org.nz/reports/sunscreens-test/introduction) found seven popular sunscreens that met these requirements. We have no evidence that Absolutely Natural meets any of them.

You can buy a 200 ml pack of sunscreen offering SPF 30+ and broad spectrum protection, and 2 hours water resistance for less than $20. We paid $32 for our tube of Absolutely Natural sunscreen.

For more information, visit consumer.org.nz

Published in consumer and occupational safety.